3 ways to reduce tool theft
According to research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), 51% of builders are victims of tool theft, with a van broken into every 23 minutes. While vans are highly susceptible to crime, they are not the only source of tool theft.
Tools are also stolen from building sites when workers leave work (to take a break or get some lunch, for example), or as a result of warehouse break-ins.
Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate tool theft, here are a number of ways you can help reduce the risk of it happening.
1. Visible security systems & locks
Van theft from break-ins is a common issue, so the best way to address this is through improved locks. While a heavy-duty lock won’t deter all criminals, adding an extra layer of security is likely to reduce opportunistic criminals who act quickly. This type of visible security system can be an effective deterrent to reduce crime.
Unfortunately, experienced criminals can easily force the door open on many vans, and standard locks are often not strong enough to keep out more determined thieves. Equipping vans with an extra external lock that is not connected to the vehicle’s internal system makes it much harder for criminals to break in.
Other types of visible security systems can also help reduce crime in vans, as well as on-site or in warehouses. Installing CCTV and advertising its use on your premises and vehicles is an effective security measure, as are visible alarm systems.
2. Asset management systems
For companies using manual or spreadsheet-based asset management systems, it’s much harder to track where tools are - particularly if you have numerous sites across multiple locations. Tools are often passed around during the day, and without an adequate system, it’s hard to know where your equipment is and who's using it.
Tools can easily be taken from building sites or warehouses without being registered by manual asset management systems, making it more difficult to protect your equipment against theft. It also means that recovering stolen tools is less likely if you aren’t sure where or when the tool was stolen.
Poor asset management systems can even lead to tools being misplaced or lost within the system. This lack of clarity of where tools are can cause problems in terms of stock levels and procurement.
With asset management systems such as ON!Track, it’s easier than ever to manage quantity items and asset costs, as well as keeping your projects on schedule, profitable and fully compliant. Using a combination of asset tags, labels and cloud-based software that can be accessed from almost anywhere, you'll always know exactly where your equipment is. So if you do fall victim to tool theft, you can pass this information to the police so they can investigate the incident.
3. Encourage worker responsibility
Better internal systems can also help encourage workers to take greater responsibility over their equipment. If equipment has been signed out under a person’s name, they are more likely to take greater care of tools and ensure they are returned safely, so they are not culpable should an item go missing.
Encouraging this sense of responsibility is an effective way to improve the security of tools. It can help remind workers to lock equipment away in site boxes when they leave, ensure vans are securely parked and locked, and stop workers from leaving tools on site at night. It also helps minimise tools being passed around and misplaced between workers.
Theft can have a huge impact on a business, with the loss of expensive tools leading to extra costs, unwanted downtime and unhappy clients (as well as annoyed workers and stressed management).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to stop crime, but by improving your security and asset management systems, you can help to reduce some of the factors that lead to theft.
If you're interested in upgrading your asset management system, get in touch or explore our ON!Track page below.
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